It is clear that, despite global perceptions to the contrary, the Israeli people are desperate for peace. If they believe that there is someone on the other side prepared to meet them even part of the way, they are willing to go to considerable lengths to achieve a compromise.
That is why Israeli voters have elected several prime ministers who pledged to sign peace agreements and took action to do so.
But Israel knows that the big prize is Saudi Arabia, which has yet to normalize relations with the Jewish state. However, the Saudis have taken significant and welcome steps towards reconciliation with Israel in recent years.
As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said, peace with Saudi Arabia would effectively end the Arab-Israeli conflict. This would be a major victory for everyone who seeks a more peaceful and fraternal Middle East.
This is demonstrably untrue. The Saudis and Israelis want peace, they just need a little assistance from the U.S. to get there.
Most telling is the Saudis’ evolving attitude towards the creation of a Palestinian state. Previously, the Saudis had insisted that this was a non-negotiable precondition for peace with Israel. At times, they still profess this uncompromising attitude in public, but recent reports have indicated that, in private, they no longer consider Palestinian statehood a dealbreaker.
It appears that the Saudis have become increasingly flexible on this issue because they do not want to be held for ransom by Abbas and other obdurate Palestinian leaders.
Thus, there are fewer and fewer obstacles to peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia, but one remains
The Biden administration should set their sentiments on the Palestinian issue aside, along with the Israeli concessions the administration wants to extract, in order to achieve a major peace agreement that will reframe a long-standing conflict and change the map of the region for the better.
The Saudis understand the need to achieve this important goal, to the point that they are increasingly willing to put the previously non-negotiable Palestinian issue aside. Unfortunately, the U.S. will not do so in return.
Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate